Back in 2014, Proposition 47 reclassified nonviolent thefts as misdemeanors if the stolen good were worth less than $950.
The move has apparently emboldened the thieves.
At a board of supervisors hearing last week, representatives from Walgreens said that thefts at its stores in San Francisco had made business untenable.
“The cost of business and shoplifting led Walgreens to shut 17 locations in San Francisco in the past five years — an “unpopular and difficult decision,” Jason Cunningham, regional vice president for pharmacy and retail operations in California and Hawaii, said at the hearing. The company still has 53 stores in the city.
Theft in Walgreens’ San Francisco stores is four times the average for stores elsewhere in the country, and the chain spends 35 times more on security guards in the city than elsewhere, Cunningham said.
At CVS, 42% of losses in the Bay Area came from 12 stores in San Francisco, which are only 8% of the market share, Brendan Dugan, director of organized retail crime and corporate investigations, said at the hearing.”
The New York Times reports that Commander Raj Vaswani, the head of the investigations bureau at the San Francisco Police Department says “the one trend we are seeing is more violence and escalating — and much more bold. We see a lot of repeat offenders.”
Ahsha Safaí, a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors, tells the NY Times that stolen good are sold at sidewalk thieves markets where even steaks, bicycles and other goods are fenced.
Safaí said he had recently stopped to inspect one of these markets and saw “half of Walgreens was on the sidewalk. I’m not kidding. I was blown away. I’ve never seen anything like it in this city.”
He says people have become so conditioned to the thefts, “it has become part of the landscape. People say, ‘Oh, well, that just happens.’ Thieves “are obviously choosing locales based on what the consequences are. If there are no consequences for their actions, then you invite the behavior. Over and over.”
Sounds like a liberal utopia.